Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

CSA Cookoff: Butternut Gnocchi with Brown Sage Butter and Two Bean Salad with Pumpkin Seeds

Parker Farm CSA Share 9/22/10: 4 corn, 1 pound green beans, 1 pound zucchini, 1 pound cubanelle peppers, 1
pound shell beans(kidney), 1 pound yellow tomatoes, 1 bunch arugula, 1bunch
radish, 1 bunch broccoli and 1 delicata squash.

Last week, all of us in the CSA were amazed (and a little frightened) by the gigantic butternut squash we received in each share. Some posted photos to Parker Farm's Facebook page: "12 1/2 pounds!" we exclaimed. Others used it as a pretty centerpiece, like growing accustomed to a new family member. I, as usual, tried to photograph it and put it in perspective:

That's a quarter next to the beast. Then, inspiration (aka Lidia) struck.

These days, Lidia Bastianich is getting all kinds of media attention, but for a long time she was the quietly dignified and loveable warrior in the TV cooking show army. I've loved her for years. Her recipes are challenging, but authentic Italian. Plus she had a hand in two of the most incredible meals eaten in my life - both at Del Posto in New York City. She is my PBS must-watch, and she was on TV the other night making butternut gnocchi. I was nervous about potentially making a big batch of mini-doorstops, but I ventured forward with fantastic results. Light, tender and delicious - yay gnocchi!

Butternut Gnocchi with Browned Sage Butter

adapted from Lidia Bastianich

Serves 4 (or quadrupled because of Brontosquash Butternutus makes for plenty of frozen portions)

1 lb butternut squash, halved, seeds removed, cut side brushed with oil

1 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 large russet potatoes, halved lengthwise, cut side brushed with oil

3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 organic eggs, beaten until blended

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1.5-2 C. all purpose flour

1 sticks of butter

1 tablespoon chopped sage
freshly ground black pepper

Special equipment: Potato ricer or food mill

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Roast butternut, cut side up for 1-1 1/2 hours until very soft. Also roast potatoes, cut side down for 45 minutes - one hour until very soft.
3. Scoop cooked potato out of their skins and process through a potato rice or food mill.
4. Scoop cooked squash out of the skins and process in a food processor until smooth. (Lidia recommends cooking some of the liquid out of the squash by stewing it in a pot for 10 minutes, but I found this unnecessary. You decide depending on the squash that you're working with).
5. Using a fork, combine squash, potato, eggs, 1/2 C. grated parmesan and nutmeg until blended.
6. Slowly add flour until you're working with a light, yet still sticky dough, then turn out onto a floured surface. Lightly knead the dough, slowly adding more flour, until you can divide the dough into eight pieces without a sticky mess.
7. Taking one of the eight pieces, roll the dough into a thick cigar, then cut in half and continue rolling each until you have half-inch thick ropes.
8. Using a pastry cutter or chef's knife, cut the ropes into 3/4-inch pieces (they will resemble tiny pillows) then set aside on a lightly-floured baking sheet. Meanwhile, start a large pot of salted water to boiling. (Traditionally, this is where you roll each gnocchi with a floured fork to create ridges in the dough. I may or may not have followed through with this tradition).
9. Working in batches, add gnocchi to boiling water and cook for 15-20 minutes. Gnocchi will float after about 10, so stir regularly. Remove cooked gnocchi to a colander and briefly rinse with cold water, then reserve to an oiled baking sheet.
10. Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, melt one stick of butter, cooking gently until butter is brown and nutty-scented, then add half of the chopped sage and freshly ground black pepper.
111. Toss cooked gnocchi into butter sauce, turning to coat until heated through.
12. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with grated parmesan.
13. Eat. (Aside: The following night, I cubed and sauteed one of the zucchini in butter and tossed that with another batch of gnocchi and it was deeelish.)

Two Bean Salad with Pumpkin Seeds

We were intrigued by the shell kidney beans in our shares, but were at a loss for what to do with one pound of them. In retrospect, the cooked beans are so tender and flavorful, I should have made a garlicky bean dip. My share-mate and co-worker, Alicia, emailed me after the pickup to say that raw kidney beans can kill you, so I'm grateful for that. I shelled and soaked 'em for more than the recommended five hours.

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2" pieces

1 pound shell beans (kidney), shelled, soaked for 5+ hours

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 T. olive oil

2 T. roasted pumpkin seeds

1 T. balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

1. Cook kidney beans in boiling salted water for 20 minutes until beans are soft.

2. Add green beans and cook for five minutes more, then drain into a colander

3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook garlic in oil until it is soft and fragrant, then add pumpkin seeds. Set aside.

4. Toss cooked beans with garlic oil mixture and add balsamic, salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Views: 161

Comment by Christa Nelson on September 26, 2010 at 2:39pm
you come up with such interesting, creative, and yummy ways to use the shares!


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